Thursday, May 10, 2007

Family Cell Phone Plans....How To Find A Cheap Deal

If you're looking for a cheap family cell phone are some tips:

As far as national providers go, the least expensive seem to be T-Mobile and Sprint. Each has family plans as low as $59.99 a month for two lines, additional lines are $9.99 a month extra.

Both offer unlimited text message packages for family plans for another $20 a month. So....a plan with 4 phones and unlimited texting will cost you $100 a month before taxes and fees, which will probably increase your bill about 20%, maybe more, it varies by State.

Both offer free phones, although the free phones from T-Mobile seem fancier than those from Sprint.

Sprint has nights and weekends that start at 7 p.m. vs. T-Mobile at 9.p.m. Calls made or received from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for Sprint or 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for T-Mobile are free on weeknights (Mon. - Thurs.). Weekends calls are free on Sprint from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Monday. They are free on T-Mobile from 9 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday.

T-Mobile charges an activation fee of $35 per phone, while Sprint waives most activation charges if you sign up online.

Coverage will vary, so make sure you check on their respective web sites to see what kind of service to expect in your area.

Both will want a 2 year commitment if you sign up online. On the other hand, you may be able to find a retailer locally who offers one year contracts for T-Mobile, I don't think you'll find that for Sprint. If you choose the one-year option, though, you may not get the phones for free.

The two other big national carriers, Cingular and Verizon, offer good coverage and free phones, but can be more expensive. Unless you catch one of their specials which aren't bad. Neither one seems to have a text package that covers the whole family. Yet. But stay tuned.

For those of you who may not know, Verizon Wireless as of April 16, 2007 began offering a new messaging package. It allows you unlimited text, pics, video, and instant messaging to anyone on any wireless network in the US. Whether they are Verizon, Sprint, T Mobile, etc.

They had some problems getting accounts set up on the new plan the first day. Many had to wait a couple days to sign up.

You'll end up paying exactly the same amount you are now for the new plan. Depending on if you are on the Family Share plan or a single line, it's 20.00 extra for a single line or 30.00 for a family share package. However, I had a friend with two lines on their account with the 10.00 messaging package, and two with the 5.00 messaging package. So, they dropped those package and saved 30.00. Then they payed it back on the new plan and got unlimited messaging to anybody in the US. Not a bad deal if you have lots of friends who aren't on Verizon.

Now....for more help here's a neat little tool which will search and compare available cell phones and providers by area for you (USA only)....covering every item you may be interested in.

Cell Phone Finder

Besides standard cell phones this tool also covers other wireless devices such as the popular Blackberry.....and even includes a section on cell phone accessories.

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